The Arctic Shortcut: A study of Russian political commitment to a revitalisation of the Northern Sea Route
AuthorPedersen, Kjartan Tveitnes
This master’s thesis analyses Russian political commitment to a revitalisation of the Northern Sea Route. In order to address the research questions asked the thesis delve into Russian political commitment to international cooperation in the High North and the current natural, economic and political condition of the sea route itself. Two theoretical pendulum perspectives are used to illustrate Russia’s changing policies and ambitions in the Arctic, complimenting a large effort to collect relevant up-to-date data in order to present a contemporary study of the developments on the NSR. Findings hold that there has been a marked change in Russian political commitment to the Northern Sea Route. The last four sailing seasons have opening eyes and seen developments that was not envisioned only half a decade ago. The decades old grand rhetoric on infrastructure investments has indeed seen some progress. Construction of one new icebreaker and several S&R station are ongoing, but the needs are great and the ability and willingness to follow through on large project are rarely straight forward, especially in Russia A general development of the Russian Arctic is the greatest incentive for NSR development. Analysing developments on the NSR has illustrated a greater Russian political commitment to Arctic development, in which the NSR is an intrinsic part. In order to control and access the riches of their Arctic region, the NSR together with activities of extractive industries are crucial. It is the continued development of the Arctic region as a whole, promoting declared intentions of being a leading Arctic power, which gives Moscow an incentive to facilitate increased utilisation of the NSR With the Russian state in a process of improving its services to facilitate increased traffic, the impetus of NSR revitalisation can shifts to the economic feasibility of individual voyages. Even though the NSR might not be a real competitor to the traditional commercial sea lanes, there are opportunities present for companies familiar with vessel requirements, pricing systems and suitable cargoes. While coming summer and fall seasons most probably will see a modest increase in volume, the majority of Arctic voyages in the near future seems likely to be destination traffic, servicing the Arctic extractive industries.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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